Thursday, January 15, 2015

Positive Thinking and Thematic Thursday

Today's theme is all about winter and SNOW!

Fortunately, here where I live, we don't usually get snow,
and although we have a few cold days,
it isn't REALLY cold.

A couple years ago we did get a bit of snow though!

This was at my husband's office.

But I do love teaching about winter and snow.  Some of my kiddos here have never actually even seen snow, let alone playing in it or living in it.

Helping them experience it, even virtually, is a lot of fun,
(and a heck of a lot warmer!)

To that end, I am linking up with some friends to share some of my favorite wintery resources.
There may even be a freebie in it for you.

There are many wonderful winter picture books out there, but I'll share just a few of my favorites.


In The Snowy Day, a 1963 Caldecott Medal winner, Peter wakes up to discover that snow has fallen during the night.  The story takes us through his adventures with the snow.  It is one of my all-time favorites!
According to Aamzon, "The book is notable not only for its lovely artwork and tone, but also for its importance as a trailblazer. According to Horn Book magazine, The Snowy Day was "the very first full-color picture book to feature a small black hero"--yet another reason to add this classic to your shelves. It's as unique and special as a snowflake."

There are many versions of the The Mitten, but Jan Brett's is my favorite, and no classroom library is complete with out it.  The book lends itself perfectly to sequencing activities and retelling with props.

Have you ever wondered what happens to snowmen at night while your're sleeping?
Have you come out in the morning to find your snowman is not quite as you left him the night before?
This fun and fanciful tale reveals some amusing details about the antic of snowmen at night.  It is a great springboard for imaginative artwork, narratives, and winter poetry!

My all-time favorite winter picture book is

A wordless tale about a boy and the snowman that comes alive in his dreams.

The pictures and soft and gentle and leave me with warm fuzzy feelings.  I was so excited when I discovered the video that goes along with the book, also wordless.  My kiddos have loved watching the video, and then afterwards I have them write and illustrate their own versions of the story.

There are also tons of great non-fiction books for a winter study.

Snowflake Bentley is one of the best!
"Of all the forms of water the tiny six-pointed crystals of ice called snow are incomparably the most beautiful and varied." -- Wilson Bentley (1865-1931)
From the time he was a small boy in Vermont, Wilson Bentley saw snowflakes as small miracles. And he determined that one day his camera would capture for others the wonder of the tiny crystal. Bentley's enthusiasm for photographing snowflakes was often misunderstood in his time, but his patience and determination revealed two important truths: no two snowflakes are alike; and each one is startlingly beautiful. His story is gracefully told and brought to life in lovely woodcuts, giving children insight into a soul who had not only a scientist's vision and perseverance but a clear passion for the wonders of nature. Snowflake Bentley won the 1999 Caldecott Medal.

Before a snowflake melts on your tongue, it makes an epic journey. This is the beautiful, full-color story of that journey, step by step, from a single snowflake’s creation in the clouds, through its fall to earth, to its brief and sparkling appearance on a child’s mitten. Told by a scientist who knows snowflakes better than almost anyone, the story features his brilliant photographs of real snowflakes, snowflakes forming (in the author’s lab), water evaporating, clouds developing, ice crystals, rain, dew, and frost--all the elements of the world and weather that add up, flake by flake, to the white landscape of winter. Aimed at readers from 6 to 12, The Secret Life of a Snowflake gets to the heart of one of nature’s most magical phenomena while making the wonder of the snowflake all the more real.

How do snow crystals form? What shapes can they take? Are no two snow crystals alike? These questions and more are answered in this visually stunning exploration of the science of snow. Perfect for reading on winter days, the book features photos of real snow crystals in their beautiful diversity. It even includes instructions for catching snowflakes!

Winter is also a great time to teach some life science about animals in winter and hibernation.  This is always a favorite with the kids!  here are a few of my favorites for teaching about animals and hibernation.

You can grab any of these books by click on the links at the bottom of this post.

After reading all these great books, what can you DO with them?

Here are some fun ideas...


Using equal parts boiling water and Epsom Salts, make a saturated solution and let cool.

Have kids draw and color winter scenes on dark blue or black paper
and the paint liberally with the cooled solution.

When the "paint" dries, it crystallizes and creates an icy look.

I found good directions for this activity here.

Another fun activity from Steve Spangler Science is to make borax snowflakes.

They turn out so beautiful!  Hang them in the windows and they sparkle!
You can find directions here.

For some online fun, check out these snowflake activities.
Click on the images to go to the sites and have some fun!

For some more online fun check out this list from

I have created this fun estimation freebie for you.  It has been a very popular activity with my students.
Click on the image to grab yours.

Click on the image below to open and download the PDF.  
You can access all the links to each of the books and ideas in the PDF.  

To check out even more wintery ideas head on over to the Pinterest Board.

I am also giving away a brand new copy of my favorite winter book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am going to leave you with my thought for

which is also in keeping with my theme...


  1. What a great post! During the winter, I LOVE using Jan Brett's books. I also have a few favorite go to books that I use for writing-Brave Irene, Snowflakes Fall (new last year), and Snow by Cynthia Rylant. I love having my kids work on descriptive writing during the winter, especially after a good snow. We don't get them often in Virginia, but when we do, we thoroughly enjoy it.

    1. PS...Thanks so much for linking up today. I love this post!

  2. I also love to read Jan Bett books! She's one of my favorite authors. A teaching collaeuge and friend showed me how to make pretty intricate snowflakes, which the kids love.

    1. Congratulations Mary! You won the copy of The Snowman. Please email me with your address and I will send it your way!


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